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UK, Japan denounce Israel’s illegal settlement expansion

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson talks at the 53rd Munich Security Conference on Februrary 17, 2017 [Andreas Gebert/Anadolu Agency]
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson talks at the 53rd Munich Security Conference on Februrary 17, 2017 [Andreas Gebert/Anadolu Agency]

The British and Japanese governments lamented Israel’s recent approval of further construction in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank as “not conducive to peace”.

The denunciations came more than a week after Israel’s Civil Administration promoted plans for the construction of at least 1,500 illegal Israeli settler housing units in the occupied West Bank.

“We condemn the announcement of yet further settlement units in the West Bank,” UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, said yesterday. “Settlements are illegal under international law, and not conducive to peace.”

“This spike in settlement activity makes a two-state solution, with an Israel that is safe from terrorism and a Palestinian state that is viable and sovereign, harder to achieve,” Johnson added.

Read: Number of Israeli settlement building licences at highest since 1992

Meanwhile, Japan Foreign Press Secretary, Norio Maruyama, reiterated his country’s calls for a freeze in Israeli settlement building, echoing Johnson’s statements.

“The government of Japan once again strongly urges the government of Israel to desist from implementing its construction plans that are undermining the viability of a two-state solution,” Maruyama said.

The foreign condemnations came after Israeli NGO Peace Now estimated earlier this month that the number of settlement housing units promoted in the first half of 2017 was almost double that of all of 2016.

According to the organisation, plans for 4,909 housing units have so far been pushed forward in 2017, 85 per cent more than in the span of 2016, during which 2,657 units were promoted.

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